Love Is In The Air
March 6, 2015
People have mixed emotions when it comes to how they feel about lovebugs. Is it fascination or is it an annoyance? Is it envy? Hopefully, it’s not envy, because if so, you may need to seek a marriage counselor. Maybe it’s a little bit of fascination and annoyance combined. The fascination: how do they fly straight doing, well, that thing they do? The annoyance: pulling off the highway every 10 miles to scrub the bug splat off your windshield. Read on to curb your fascination with these critters which, in turn, will hopefully limit your annoyance with their behavior.
Lovebugs are fly-like bugs that are slender, black with a red thorax, and closely related to mosquitoes. Currently, there are two known species of Lovebugs in the United States: native and invasive. There are two lovebug outbreaks a year. Once in the spring, in April and May and once in the fall, in August and September.
Although extremely annoying to motorists, lovebugs are harmless. They don’t feed on human blood or bite or sting; they feed on the nectar from certain blooming plants. Unlike the mosquito, these groovy creatures are all about peace and love, baby!
Like every creature on the planet, lovebugs are designed to mate and reproduce. In the case of the lovebug, mating is the ONLY activity that they will partake in before they die. In nature, lovebugs typically live 3-4 days. Just enough time to mate.
The mating dance starts with the males flying and swarming above the grounded females. Once the female emerges from the vegetation, males immediately swoop down and grasp a female. The males are in search of the larger females. Up to ten males have been known to fight over a single female. After finding a match, the mating pair will fly to the ground and rest among the vegetation below. Mating will finish with the male and the female facing in opposite directions.
Lovebugs seem to congregate near highways where the vegetation on the side of the road is dense. Although lovebugs don’t cause any bodily harm to humans, motorists are well aware of the damage they do to vehicles. Splattering your windshield and obstructing your view is only the beginning of it. If there is no screen protecting your radiator, these bugs can clog your radiator fins, causing your vehicle to overheat. Also, splattered lovebugs left on the finish of your hood can pit and stain the paint if it’s not immediately cleaned off. Trust me, I speak from experience when I say: immediately. The hood of my car looks it’s been sandblasted! It’s best to clean the bugs off your car within hours of reaching your destination. Baby oil is known to aid in bug removal.
It has been discovered by professionals that the use of insecticides to limit populations of lovebugs is ineffective due to their vast numbers. But if ever there are lovebugs on your porch, garage or car the best thing to do is suck them up with a vacuum.
The reduction of lovebugs in the last few years has been due to the increase of their natural predators. Birds will attack the larvae in the vegetation. Also, fungi is known to affect lovebug larvae. Invertebrate predators include earwigs, beetle larvae, and centipedes.
Well if these bugs are best regulated by nature, how do we take the proper precautions to avoid lovebug damage to our vehicles? Great question! When lovebugs are swarming, it’s best to travel at night because they stop flying at dusk. If you have to travel during the day, slow down. This will reduce the amount of splat on your windshield and hood. Also, install a screen over or behind the grill to protect your radiator from getting clogged.
Even though the pest experts here at Nozzle Nolen can’t do anything to aid in your issues with lovebugs, we are here for any other lawn or pest issues that you have. Contact us today and request a free evaluation and you will fall in love with your beautiful lawn and pest-free property!
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